Friday, February 3, 2023

Friday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beshalach

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha last evening. [As we are BH visiting my FIL aka the Heineken Man and the shiur aired while we were flying to Chicago, I am blogging this on Friday from Chicago]. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand began by quoting the Ibn Ezra on the pasuk in Shemos 14:22 - וַיָּבֹ֧אוּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל בְּת֥וֹךְ הַיָּ֖ם בַּיַּבָּשָׁ֑ה וְהַמַּ֤יִם לָהֶם֙ חוֹמָ֔ה מִֽימִינָ֖ם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָֽם in which the Ibn Ezra writes that there was a miracle within the miracle. While the Jews were passing through they walked on dry land and the water alongside them was frozen. Then when the Egyptians came through right behind them, the ice melted and the water came crashing down on them. 

R' Frand tied this to the pasuk in davening which states that zeidim drowned while the yedidim were passed through. It should be the opposite - that the yedidim passed through and then the zeidim drowned. But the Ibn Ezra demonstrates that these events took place at the same time.

R' Frand said a second vort on the pasuk in Shemos 15:2 -  זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ - that the Medrash states that the revelation of the Shechina was so clear that the Jews pointed with their fingers while stating this. Hashem then said to them - in this world you said this once, but in the future you will say זֶ֤ה twice, as reflected in the Ata Haraisa.

R' Frand quoted the Gemara in Pesachim which interprets the pasuk - Bayom HaHu Hashem will be one and His name will be one. In this world we say HaTov V'HaMeitiv on good things and Dayan HaEmes on hearing about a passing. But in the World to Come there is one beracha. The Meshech Chachma explains that in this world we are bound by time and cannot see the whole story, so we see things as negative and say Dayan HaEmes. But in the World to Come we will see how even these things were good. The pasuk in Ata Haraisa uses the name Elokeinu and Hashem - showing that we will see that even what appears to be Din is in reality Midas HaRachamim. 

R' Frand quoted the Beis HaLevi on the words - אָ֣ז יָשִֽׁיר־משֶׁה֩. The Medrash states that Moshe says he sinned with the same word when he states in Shemos 5:23 - וּמֵאָ֞ז בָּ֤אתִי אֶל־פַּרְעֹה֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר בִּשְׁמֶ֔ךָ הֵרַ֖ע לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה. Now I want to use the same word to say praise to Hashem. The Beis HaLevi explains that when the Jews were in the midst of the Shibud the Jews did not understand why they were going through these problems. But now what I complained about I understand was for the good and for that reason I want to use the same word.

R' Frand closed by quoting a Gemara in Taanis which states that in the future, Hashem will create a circle in Gan Eden and the Jews will dance in a circle and point to Hashem using the same pasuk from Ata Haraisa. R' Frand said that in this world there are different minhagim and nuschaos and unfortunately we can't come to a consensus. But in the future when we are in a circle around Hashem and we are all equidistant, we will point to Hashem and say -  זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ.

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Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bo

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha last evening. [As we are BH visiting our daughter in Israel and the shiur aired at 4 AM Israel time, I am blogging this on Friday from Israel]. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand quoted a Gemara in Sotah which states that in the zechus of the righteous women who tried to get pregnant even though they knew that Egyptians wanted to have the babies killed, the Jews were zoche to acquire the wealth of Egypt. But what is the connection between the two concepts?

R' Frand also quoted Hashem's promise to Avraham that the Jews would be enslaved for 400 years and afterwards they would leave with great wealth. In Parshas Bo (11:2) the Torah states that Moshe was told דַּבֶּר־נָ֖א בְּאָזְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם וְיִשְׁאֲל֞וּ אִ֣ישׁ | מֵאֵ֣ת רֵעֵ֗הוּ וְאִשָּׁה֙ מֵאֵ֣ת רְעוּתָ֔הּ כְּלֵי־כֶ֖סֶף וּכְלֵ֥י זָהָֽב . Rashi in Gemara Berachos states that Moshe said to the people "please" ask the Egyptians. But why would they need to be pleaded with to do this? The Gemara answers that Hashem did not want Avraham Avinu to have a claim that the Jews went down to Egypt and did not leave with the promised great wealth.

R' Elya Svei asked - why is it that Hashem needed to use this method to get the Jews their payment for the work in Egypt? Hashem delivered the manna to them and provided a well in the desert and had the clouds of glory protect them, couldn't He have found a different way to deliver the wealth?

R' Frand answered by first noting that there are three times that the Jews are asked to go to the Egyptians to ask for these items. The first time in Shemos 3:22, Moshe is told to ask the Jews to ask for gold and silver vessels and clothing. But when Moshe asks the Jews in Bo (11:2) he does not request that they ask for clothing. Why not?

R' Frand quoted R' Elya who in turn cites a Sforno which writes that Moshe used the word "please" because the Jews were putting themselves in danger by making these requests. And by taking all of the Egyptians possession including the clothing, the Jews recognized that this put them in danger. Therefore Moshe had to say please. But even with this, Moshe was concerned that the Jews would not want to take all of the possessions, so he left out the clothes. But the Jews had proper emunah and did ask for everything.

R' Frand explained that by asking for everything including the clothes and showing their emunah, the Jews were misaken Avraham's slight lack of emunah in asking in Bereishis (15:8) -   בַּמָּ֥ה אֵדַ֖ע כִּ֥י אִֽירָשֶֽׁנָּה.  They asked for the resources even though they might have thought - this could get us into trouble.

So what is the connection between the great reward and the women having children despite danger? The Jews said to themselves - if the women are doing this despite the danger to themselves and the babies, we can ask the Egyptians for all of these things.

This was the rechush gadol that was promised to Avraham - your children will leave Egypt with great emunah.

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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vaera

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand began the vort by quoting the Gemara in Pesachim which discusses how Chananya, Mishael and Azaraya threw themselves into a fiery furnace rather than bow down to an idol of Nebuchadnezzar. The Gemara explains that they drew a kal v'chomer from the frogs. Since the frogs were all over Egypt from the bedrooms to the kitchens and these frogs chose to fall into the ovens rather than the beds, Chananya, Mishael and Azaraya chose to fall into the furnace. These frogs did not even have a mitzva to die Al Kiddush Hashem, but people do have this obligation and so they chose to enter the furnace.

R' Frand then made the comparison with the dogs who did not bark when the Jews left Egypt and are rewarded in multiple ways. The most famous reward is that they are given the nevilos as the pasuk states in Shemos 22:30 - וּבָשָׂ֨ר בַּשָּׂדֶ֤ה טְרֵפָה֙ לֹ֣א תֹאכֵ֔לוּ לַכֶּ֖לֶב תַּשְׁלִכ֥וּן אֹתֽוֹ. 

R' Frand next quoted a Yalkut which discusses a reward for the dogs that I was not aware of. Every creature says a prayer to Hashem daily and the dog's prayer is the pasuk in Tehillim 95:7 - בֹּאוּ נִשְׁתַּֽחֲוֶ֣ה וְנִכְרָ֑עָה נִ֜בְרְכָ֗ה לִֽפְנֵי־יְהֹוָ֥ה עֹשֵֽׂנוּ. The Yalkut tells the story that R' Yishayah who was the student of R' Chanina Ben Tradyon was bothered - why is the brazen dog given this wonderful prayer? He was so bothered by this that he fasted 85 fasts so as to be worthy of an answer. An angel spoke to him and said - this is a secret from the Heaven which was entrusted to Chabakok and it was intended to be a secret until this day! But since you are the student of R' Chanina Ben Tradyon, I will tell you - it is the reward for having not barked when the Jews left Egypt.

R' Frand then mentioned a third special reward which the dogs receive - their excrement is used to prepare the parchment used for tefillin and mezuzos. 

So why does the dog receive all of these rewards and there is nothing for the frog? Because the dogs went against their nature in that they did not bark. A dog can sense when the angel of death is present, but these dogs did not bark when the Jews were leaving Egypt.

R' Frand tied this into a Gemara in Avodah Zarah 18 which repeats a conversation between R' Yosef Ben Kisma and R' Chananya Ben Tradyon. R' Yosef says, I hear that you are teaching Torah in public and that the Romans might take you. R' Chananya says yes I am, Hashem should have mercy. They have a back and forth exchange. Then R' Chananya asked, am I going to Olam Haba? R' Yosef replies, have you done any great acts? R' Chananya replies that once he had monies collected for the poor for Purim that he mixed with other money. He then gave the entire mixed lot of money to charity. To this R' Yosef says - yes you will be a Ben Olam Haba.

The exchange is hard to comprehend. R' Chananya is teaching Torah in public at great risk to his life. Yet when asked what are you doing that would merit Olam Haba, he discusses the money. Why was that? R' Frand quoted the Ba'al HaTanya who explains that R' Chananya's teaching of Torah could be viewed as something that he did because he loved doing it and was addicted to Torah. But its not natural to give away the money, especially when it was accidentally mixed. Going against one's nature is a way to earn reward.

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Thursday, January 12, 2023

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shemos

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shemos 1:15, the Torah identifies the midwives -  אֲשֶׁ֨ר שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאַחַת֙ שִׁפְרָ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית פּוּעָֽה. The Gemara explains that Yocheved was called שִׁפְרָ֔ה because she swaddled the babies and Miriam was called פּוּעָֽה because she cooed to calm down the babies.

R' Frand then asked - this is normal motherly behavior - why did this define who these women were to the point that they are called by these names? R' Frand answered by quoting R' Shimshon Pincus who observes that if a baby is brought to a hospital for an emergency, all the medical personnel will be busy doing their jobs to save the baby's life, but will not be looking to calm and comfort the baby. Meanwhile, the mother will do her best to comfort her child while the medical personnel do their jobs.

Yocheved and Miriam were in an intense, pressure filled situation as they were trying to deliver these babies without being caught by Pharaoh's overseers. Yet, they still were able to calm and comfort the babies - thus they earned these names. 

R' Frand closed this vort by noting that Rashi explains that their rewards were to become the mothers of kehuna and malchus - they were the "mothers" of these progeny because they acted motherly towards the babies in a time of great stress.

R' Frand said a second vort on the pasuk in Shemos 2:6 - וַתִּפְתַּח֙ וַתִּרְאֵ֣הוּ אֶת־הַיֶּ֔לֶד וְהִנֵּה־נַ֖עַר בֹּכֶ֑ה. The pasuk uses two different terms - יֶּ֔לֶד - which is a baby and נַ֖עַר  which is an older child. How is this possible? The Ba'al HaTurim quotes the Yalkut which explains that the baby was Moshe, but the נַ֖עַר  seen by Basya was Aharon. For this reason she says מִיַּלְדֵ֥י הָֽעִבְרִ֖ים זֶֽה because its a very Jewish trait to stand and worry for another Jew. 

The Ba'al HaTurim further writes that the gematria of וְהִנֵּה־נַ֖עַר בֹּכֶ֑ה is Zeh Aharon HaKohain. But the problem with the gematria is that Aharon was not yet a Kohain. That did not come until later when he rejoiced when Moshe was made the leader of the Jewish people!

R' Frand quoted the Sefer Abir Ya'akov who quoted his rebbi - R' Aharon Dovid Willner who explains that Aharon's receipt of the Kehuna was because he genuinely emoted with others - he was Nosei B'Ol Im Chavero. Where we do see that? This is the very first example - even at this young age he was genuinely concerned for his brother.

Lastly, R' Frand said a vort on the pasuk in Shemos 2:1 - וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ אִ֖ישׁ מִבֵּ֣ית לֵוִ֑י וַיִּקַּ֖ח אֶת־בַּת־לֵוִֽי. The meforshim all ask - why are Amram and Yocheved not identified? 

R' Frand gave two answers. The first answer was from R' Ya'akov Kaminetzky who explains that this was meant to show that Moshe was not the product of immaculate conception. Moshe, the leader of the Jewish people who spoke directly with Hashem, was the child of a man and a woman.

The second answer was said in the name of R' Moshe Feinstein who explains that a parent can't take credit for the greatness of a child until the child actually accomplishes something. At this point, Moshe was just a baby, but later when he became Moshe, the Torah identifies his parents.

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Thursday, January 5, 2023

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayechi

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

The first vort was a quick thought from the Ba'al HaTurim on the word וַיְחִ֤י. He notes that the gematria of וַיְחִ֤י is 34 which equals the number of good years that Ya'akov lived - the 17 years before Yosef is sold down to Egypt and the 17 years after they are reunited.

The next vort related to Ya'akov telling Yosef in Bereishis 48:7 that he had buried Rochel in Bethlehem because she had died while they were traveling on the road back from Lavan. R' Frand quoted the famous Rashi wherein Ya'akov explains why he buried her there, so that she can daven for the Jews when they go into galus.

R' Frand asked - why is this mentioned at this point in the parsha, when Yosef was bringing his children to Ya'akov for a blessing? It would have been more appropriate to mention in the beginning of the parsha when Ya'akov asked to be buried in Chevron and not in Egypt!

In answering the question, R' Frand quoted R' Schwadron who asked another question - why is it Ya'akov tells Reuven in Parshas Vayechi that although he was the bechor, the actual bechora (in the form of a double portion) went to Yosef in that his two sons were recognized as tribes? He answered that it relates to why Reuven lost the bechora - because he acted impetuously by switching the beds. And Yosef was put in the same situation where he could have objected or acted when he saw his mother was being buried in Bethlehem. But Yosef did not do so and instead he stayed quiet. 

Now that Ya'akov is giving out the double portion to Yosef it is the proper time to mention the burial of Rochel. In so doing, Ya'akov says to Yosef - you are getting the double portion because you did not act out when I buried Rochel in Bethlehem. And you Reuven lost the bechora because you did act impetiously.

The next vort asks the age old question - why is that when we give our children blessings we invoke Ephraim and Menashe and we repeat the pasuk in Bereishis 48:20 - יְשִֽׂמְךָ֣ אֱלֹהִ֔ים כְּאֶפְרַ֖יִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁ֑ה ? R' Frand answered that it is because throughout Sefer Bereishis brothers fought with one another. This is the first time that we see achdus - so they are the paradigm for the beracha.

The last vort on the parsha was said in the name of the Avodas Yisrael who noted that Hashem's name of  יְהֹוָֽה is mentioned in every parsha in Sefer Bereshis from the beginning until Mikeitz and then it is not used in Mikeitz or Vayigash. Why? Because these parshios are the beginning of galus and this name is a name of Rachamim. But this begs the question - why does it appear in Parshas Vayechi in 49:18 - לִֽישׁוּעָֽתְךָ֖ קִוִּ֥יתִי יְהֹוָֽה? He answers that it specifically appears there as a promise to us that there will be a yeshuah and the Jews will be saved from galus.

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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayigash

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand said his vort on the pasuk in Bereishis 45:4 which states וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אֲנִי֙ יוֹסֵ֣ף אֲחִיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־מְכַרְתֶּ֥ם אֹתִ֖י מִצְרָֽיְמָה. Since this is said during the time that Yosef is trying to console his brothers, why would he mention that they sold him down to Egypt?

R' Frand first gave an answer from the S'forno (as well as the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh) which states that this was said to make sure that they knew that he was actually Yosef. Since the sale was only witnessed by eleven people, by letting them know that he was aware of it, they would realized that he was really Yosef.

R' Frand gave a second answer from the Sfas Emes who explained that when the brothers saw Yosef they were upset with themselves. They saw what a great person he had become and they thought - had we not sold him down to Egypt and had he stayed with Ya'akov, he could have been even greater. 

It was for this reason that Yosef told them - I am Yosef who you sold down to Egypt, because you sold me to Egypt. I would not have become the person I am now if I had not experienced all the troubles that I did. Much like the meforshim take the breaking of the luchos  אֲשֶׁ֥ר שִׁבַּֽרְתָּ and learn that Hashem said Yasher Koach that you broke the luchos, so too Yosef was saying אֲשֶׁר־מְכַרְתֶּ֥ם - Yasher Koach that you sold me.

R' Frand said a second vort in the name of the Tiferes Shlomo (Radumsker Rav) which ties back to Parshas Vayishlach. After recounting the fight with the angel of Esav, the Torah states in Bereishis 32:32 - וַיִּזְרַח־ל֣וֹ הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר עָבַ֖ר אֶת־פְּנוּאֵ֑ל וְה֥וּא צֹלֵ֖עַ עַל־יְרֵכֽוֹ. Rashi explains that the Torah is telling us that the sun rose to heal Ya'akov from his wound. However if this was the case, the rising of the sun should be at the end of the pasuk after the Torah states that he was lame!

The Tiferes Shlomo addresses this by quoting a pasuk from this week's parsha which states in Bereishis 45:3 - וְלֹא־יָֽכְל֤וּ אֶחָיו֙ לַֽעֲנ֣וֹת אֹת֔וֹ כִּ֥י נִבְהֲל֖וּ מִפָּנָֽיו. Rashi explains that they were embarrassed that for 22 years they thought he was evil and they had done right and now they realized they were wrong and there is nothing more devastating than that. R' Chaim Shmuelevitz comments that this was a rebuke to them for their prior actions, but where is the actual rebuke? He answers that being faced with the fact that a person was dead wrong is a rebuke. 

R'  Frand gave the example of a parent whose child is disciplined and the parent gets the teacher fired. Years later the parent may realize that the teacher was right to discipline the child and the parent regrets his actions so many years later.

Unfortunately we can go through life and not realize until afterwards that we did something wrong. How does one figure it out? Aseh Lecha Rav U'Kneh Lecha Chaver. The Rambam explains that a good friend is someone that you can tell everything and because the relationship is so strong, the friend wont change his view of the person and the friend can tell you - you are an idiot!

So going back to the pasuk from this week's parsha, the Torah is telling us that sometimes Hashem shines a light on us and reveals that we were distracted. The light causes an epiphany and causes us to realize - we are not whole, we did wrong. The sun shows us that we were wrong. 

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